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Kings pull Quick after brutal Pacioretty goal; Golden Knights cruise to win

Vegas started hot and never let up at Staples Center, riding three points apiece from Tomas Nosek and Max Pacioretty to pick up their fourth win in a row.

Heading into Wednesday’s Kings - Golden Knights game, Max Pacioretty sat at 300 goals. You can bet that Pacioretty hasn’t scored many like number 301, though, as he beat Jonathan Quick from just outside the attacking zone.

(Hey, at least it’s not technically a center-ice goal, right? Somewhere, Duncan Keith’s spider sense might be tingling. *cringes*)

Quick got the hook in favor of Cal Petersen after that Pacioretty goal, which made it 3-1 in the first period. So ... not the greatest night of the veteran goalie’s career, overall.

The Golden Knights took care of business as Wednesday went along, ultimately beating the Kings 6-2.

Maybe Pacioretty and Quick can laugh about this goal later?

As an interesting wrinkle, Jonathan Quick and Max Pacioretty go back as childhood friends, so maybe they can laugh at this later? The Canadiens put together a “Behind Enemy Lines” feature regarding Pacioretty and Quick back in 2017.

Quick also praised Pacioretty’s shooting ability as part of his fun “Elite Sniper” series at The Players Tribune back in 2015:

When you’re playing Max, you have to be very aware of his quick snapshot. He’s able to release the shot so quickly and with so much power that you have to know where it’s going ahead of time to have a chance to stop it. The thing that separates Max is that his shots are as accurate and consistent as you’re going to see in the NHL. He can pick a little sliver of space better than anyone, so if you’re deep in your net when he releases it, it’s game over.

No doubt about it, Pacioretty sent a tricky shot toward Quick, and the puck took some zany bounces.

Kings need to eventually ask some tough questions in net

It’s the larger body of work that must concern the Kings, though. Even before this rough outing vs. Pacioretty and the Golden Knights, Quick had a miserable .894 save percentage this season. His 2018-19 season was also brutal (.888 save percentage), and the 2019-20 season was still backup-level (.904). The advanced stats don’t paint a prettier picture, either, as the Kings still remain a pretty stingy team, even if they’re not as formidable as they once were overall.

As a rebuilding team, the Kings don’t have to rip the Band-Aid off right away. Still, most nights, they’d probably be wiser to stick with Cal Petersen over Quick, even when the errors aren’t as glaring as that Pacioretty goal. (And, frankly, if they can find any takers for Quick and his contract [$5.8M AAV through 2022-23], they might want to be a little less sentimental.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.